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Rice meets with Syrian counterpart

May 3, 2007 at 5:47 PM

SHARM EL SHEIK, Egypt, May 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem in Egypt in the first such contact in two years.

At a brief news conference after the meeting, Rice said she told Moallem she is concerned about foreign fighters crossing the Syrian border into Iraq.

"The Syrians clearly say that they believe that stability in Iraq is in their interest, but actions will speak louder than words," Rice said. "And I think we'll have to see how this develops."

Rice and the Syrian foreign minister are in Sharm el Sheik for a two-day international conference intended to search for ways to bring stability to Iraq.

The United States recalled its ambassador to Syria in February 2005, following reports Damascus might have played a role in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. The United States has tried to isolate Syria economically and politically.

The Bush administration criticized U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., last month when she led a delegation of U.S. officials on a trip to Damascus and met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials, including the foreign minister.

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